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WHAT TO MAKE for dinner? The fridge has the usual staples: tofu, bok choy, soy sauce, rice wine, minced ginger, minced garlic. Well, at least, often in our fridge (along with bacon, broccoli, butter, carrots, eggs, milk, and other stuff).
Here are step-by-step tidbits to make Tofu Shrimp Veggies in Ginger Sauce. (I forgot to mention there’s usually shrimp in the freezer….)
It’s wise to assemble everything before the actual cooking begins. Also, as there’ll be a yummy sauce, plan to serve it with hot rice. (I cheat with frozen-bag rice zapped in the microwave.)
The Tufu. Drain the tofu. Wrap it in a paper towel and press to squeeze out a bit more liquid. Cut the tofu into 1-in. cubes.
Put 1 Tablespoon of corn starch in a plastic baggy large enough to hold the tofu pieces. Add the pieces and rotate the baggie gently to coat them. Set it aside.
The Veggies. Cut the onion into thin slices; cut the green onions into 1/2-in. bits. Cut the carrot into matchsticks.
Divide the bok choy into stems and leaves. Slice the stems into lengths comparable to those of carrot matchsticks, but leave the stems thicker. Cut leaves into strips. Set veggies aside.
The Ginger Sauce. Mix in a bowl (are you amused too when recipes specify a “clean” bowl?): 4 Tablespoons water, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon rice wine, 1 Tablespoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon corn starch, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Set the sauce aside.
The Stir Frying. I use a wok, but a large non-stick skillet is fine. The order of stir frying is tofu, veggies, shrimp and tofu, sauce, bok choy leaves and green onions. Each step takes only a few minutes, so it’s good to have these set-asides handy.
Heat 1 Tablespoon or a tad more oil to a moderately high temperature. Add the tofu, separating it gently so each piece has an oiled surface down, and let them fry for perhaps a minute. The idea is to brown the surfaces lightly before any more stir frying. Otherwise, the result is mashed fried tofu (not bad eating, but not the appearance we’re seeking).
Once they lightly brown on the bottom, stir the tofu pieces for continued browning on their remaining sides. After perhaps 5 minutes, my tofu was looking like this.
When you tire of this process, set the lightly browned tofu pieces aside.
Then whisk out the wok (no, I don’t “clean” it) and heat perhaps 2 Tablespoons of oil. Stir fry the sliced onion first until it begins giving off its aroma. Then add the bok choy stems, carrot matchsticks, and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. Stir fry this for perhaps 5 minutes. You want the veggies still on the firm side, but approaching al dente.
Then add the tofu and shrimp (tails removed for easier eating). Stir fry, again with gentleness so as not to mash the tofu. Continue this until the shrimp turns opaque.
Then give the ginger sauce a stir and add it in. Stir fry until the corn starch has performed its thickening routine. Three minutes? Finish by adding the bok choy leaves and green onion bits. (At this point, I may add a tad more water to extend the sauce.) These last additions take only a minute or two.
To jazz up my servings, I add a dash of La-Yu (Japanese Chili Oil). Wife Dottie’s taste buds are more subtle.
Bon appétit! 好胃口!
And thanks, Google Translate. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2020